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Topic: Q for JB about Kirby & 70’s Marvel (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Brad Danson
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 1:53pm | IP Logged | 1  

Surfing around today I found these:




Did Kirby often do the layouts for other artists of the time?  It is a magnificent blend of the two: Kirby dynamics with Romita's mainstream appeal.  Looking at this really made me think that this is the way Marvel should have been using Kirby at the time.  (However, had I seen the finished drawing first, I would have NO IDEA that Kirby was any part of it.)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 2:29pm | IP Logged | 2  

That's not Kirby doing layouts. That's Kirby doing full pencils, and Romita redrawing when he inked the piece. He did that a lot.

In fact, it sort of became his JOB at Marvel -- to keep the characters "on model" when drawn by different artists. Lots of "John Romita Faces" floating around various books from this period (including one of mine!). Starlin even parodied this in WARLOCK.

Truth to tell, I have not really been able to decide how I feel about the whole idea. I've been called upon myself, from time to time, to nudge a character into something more "on model" when inking someone else's work. And I DO think the character's should be "on model" whenever possible. But when I look at something like the images above, and see how Kirby has almost completely disappeared. . .

Mind you, a lot of Kirby was obliterated by Joe Sinnott's inks on those classic FF issues, and they probably would have been LESS classic if left entirely as is, so who's to say what's right and what's not?

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Brad Danson
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:00pm | IP Logged | 3  

I hated Kirby's work as I was growing up in the early 80's.  I didn't read fan magazines to get to that opinion though I have no idea how much influence Marvel's marketing at the time may have made me think that Romita's designs were the "right" ones.  Still, I can't imagine anyone looking at Kirby's Spider-Man and thinking it only needed to be traced with inks.  My first reaction on looking at Spider-Man in the drawing was, "Oh, he wasn't finished yet."  Looking at the rest of the figures in the drawing I realize, "Oh shit...YES he was!"  As an adult, I'd just want someone to show Kirby how to "correct" the Spider-Man portion of the drawing.  The child in me would prefer it just be slathered in Sinnott or Romita inks.
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Brian Tait
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 4  

I love Kirbys stuff, but for whatever reason, he just couldn't get Spider-Man "right".

I seem to recall an interview with him where he said he didn't like drawing Spider-Man. Didn't like all the webbing or something. I think he said he could never remember just how the web design was supposed to look, especially on the mask.

Does this sound right, or am I mis-remembering.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 5  

I'm a huge Romita fan so it doesn't bother me, but I could see how a Kirby fan could be have their feathers ruffled by this.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:51pm | IP Logged | 6  

I seem to recall an interview with him where he said he didn't like drawing Spider-Man. Didn't like all the webbing or something. I think he said he could never remember just how the web design was supposed to look, especially on the mask.

Must predate when he started claiming to have created Spider-Man! Which, of course, Kirby fans would support by pointing out that the costume is "pure Kirby".

Uh huh.

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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 7  

Here's the famous Captain Marvel illustration by Starlin which Romita made more "on model."

Again, if I were Starlin I probably would have been pissed, but personally, I think it was a good choice to "adjust" it.

Now the difference here is that the calendar illustration by Kirby was for Marvel merchandising, the Starlin illustration is for the mothly comic he was writing and drawing.

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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 4:50pm | IP Logged | 8  

'I love Kirbys stuff, but for whatever reason, he just couldn't get Spider-Man "right".'

That said, that's one of the best Spider-Mans I've ever seen him do!
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Brad Brickley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 9  

'I love Kirbys stuff, but for whatever reason, he just couldn't get Spider-Man "right".'

***

It's funny how some artists are so great on most things, but certain characters just don't gel.  
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 6:28pm | IP Logged | 10  

I really dig that calendar artwork! Of course since I consider John Romita, Sr.
among the greatest comic book artists...
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Brad Hague
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 11  

I prefer the Kirby pencils now as an adult.  As a child, I would have preferred the Romita-inked finished version.

Holy crap are those pencils from Starlin cool.  I really like the pencils over the finished (fixed) version.  I don't blame him for being peeved or whatever he was.

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if John Byrne were hired to put the Marvel Universe back "on model" this decade.  That would make the characters much more recognizable.  Especially the X-Men.

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 12  

It's funny how some artists are so great on most things, but certain characters just don't gel.

Of course, if Kirby wanted to limit himself "only" to characters he created, that still gave him hundreds of fun options that didn't involve anyone else's designs.  Think how many characters we'd have missed out on if he'd spent much effort on figuring out how to do a Ditko-esque Spider-Man?

Interestingly enough, there are plenty of fun takes on Kirby's characters by Ditko.  Ditko's Hulk and Machine Man are terrific, for starters.
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